Planting a Seasonal Meadow

For the past three years, I have been working with a team of volunteers on a landscape project for Vera’s Sanctuary, a 12-acre, five-home development in Orange County for women who have been subject to homelessness and human trafficking.

Vera’s Sanctuary has a large park space (12,000 square feet) that was originally planted with grass. The park site is an easement dedicated to fire and utility access.

At forty-feet wide, the easement made it impossible to install play equipment or structures of any type.

We decided to create a seasonal meadow of local wildflowers that would provide beauty, color, and life after winter rains, while also respecting the restrictions of the site.

Fellow volunteer Brad Jenkins sourced local seed including poppy (Eschscholzia californica,), lupine species (Lupinus bicolor and L. succulentus), cream cups (Platystemon californicus), blue field gilia (Gilia capitata,), wild heliotrope (Phacelia distans), California bluebell (Phacelia minor), California plantain (Plantago erecta), foothill clover (Trifolium ciliolatum), blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum), wine cup clarkia (Clarkia purpurea), bird’s foot trefoil (Acmispon americanus), and purple needle grass (Stipa pulchra).

We waited until mid-December 2021, (when rain was forecast), before we began the installation. To begin the meadow, we drew large separate areas with a garden fork, leaving paths for walking and weeding.

Creating areas for native seed. (Photo by Jeff Wallace)

After raking the circular areas, we mixed the seed with an organic potting soil that was moistened with water.

Jenkins holds a bucket of seeds. (E. Wallace)
Vern Jones adds seed to moistened organic soil mix. (E. Wallace)

Jenkins flagged each area to designate which seed mix we would apply to each. Then we broadcast the moistened seed/soil mixture in the previously-raked area.

Broadcasting seed and watering it in. (E. Wallace)

After the seed was spread, we raked the seed in, and gave it a nice soak.

Jeff Wallace waters after seed is broadcast. (E. Wallace)
Seeds raked in and ready for rain. (E. Wallace)

It has been two weeks since the seeds were broadcast, and the meadow has received five inches of rain. The seeds are germinating nicely and we are feeling hopeful that the meadow will be successful this year.

Green areas show seeds germinating in the seasonal meadow in late December 2021. (E. Wallace)

I will share the progress of the seed growth in the meadow as the year progresses. We are curious to see which species will be most successful.

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